|Photograph by Stan Williams|
Even though I never drank coffee until after spending time in France, this stovetop percolator refashioned into an imaginative table light, seen at one of the vintage shops in Kansas City’s West Bottoms, brought to mind my own long history with this fragrant, caffeinated beverage.
One of my first memories of a coffee percolator was of a time when I was probably four or five and somehow, the morning’s brew sat on the stove too long and burned. To me, Starbucks coffee always tastes bitter and singed, but the scent of scorched coffee can literally stings the inside of your nostrils. I think my mom tried to cover the stench with a coating of Lysol, which transformed the odor into a medicinal stink that remains etched in my olfactory memory. Soon after, my parents replaced the coffee pot with an electric version, and then later, with the ever-popular ‘70s sensation, a Mr. Coffee.
I’m also reminded of many relaxing weekends spent with the Quinn family in their Jersey Shore home. I rarely sleep late in Manhattan, but I am almost never the first person up when visiting the Quinn’s. Free of city noise that often has me tossing and turning at home, I awake most mornings in Quinn household to the warming aroma of coffee being prepared in an old metal percolator. We often go through two or three pots, eat time waiting for the brown liquid to bubble up into the glass top, indicating that it is time to set the timer for the moment we pour another perfect cup of Joe.
The Elegant Thrifter